August 30, 2002


Of all days for a car to die on me, it had to be today. Went into the northeast to get a futon with Fala, Christine, and Danielle. About 5 miles up, I realize that I keep losing power while accelerating from a stop at stoplights. Every electrical device also seems to die when we stop too - lights, radio, dashboard clock. I make the decision to stop at a dealership instead of getting a futon. It dies in the parking space at the dealership - no start, even with a jump box hooked to the battery. Its being looked at on Tuesday.

It was incredibly lucky though - I mean, we weren't hurt on the Boulevard driving into the Northeast. We were picked up quickly by one of Danielle's friends. The guys at the dealership didn't laugh us off the lot - I mean, we were four college students walking in at 3:30 before a four day weekend asking for help.

So I'm pretty much stuck on campus this weekend.

This tops off the wonderful day started by the sight of a cockroach on my desk this morning. Three quarters of a bottle of Raid later, it was dead. I'm praying that its the last one I see.

Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please be the last one.

Posted by Matthew at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2002

Class Notes: First Week Edition

The first week of class has produced the following observations, some serious, some not:

  1. Scheduling - My weekend begins on Wednesdays this semester, at 9pm. I'm taking 5 classes, all 3 hours at a time on Monday thru Wednesday. The first week was interesting: I like getting all the information at once as I feel like we really get beneath the skin of the subject in three hour classes.

  2. Scheduling2 - Conversely, every three hour class needs a break. I hope these breaks continue. I'll be disappointed if they don't. Thats all I have to say about that.

  3. Olney Hall - Olney Hall contains the coldest classrooms I've ever been in. Evidently they were once used to store frozen foods and sides of meat during the heyday of the early eighties. It was when enrollment picked up that they had to convert the meat lockers and walk in freezers back to classroom space.

  4. Journalism - My journalism professor looks like Danny Devito, if he wore a hairstyle from the 80's rock group "Nelson." I find it hard to concentrate on the assignments because of this fact, and also due to the use of computers with internet connections in the curriculum.

  5. Shady Basement - Just living here makes me feel "shady." I kinda like being "shady." I still don't know the full implications of being "shady" though - does being RA of the "Basement Boys" make me their role model? Am I required, as part of my job, to be as "shady" as possible? Should I take "shadiness" to the extreme? Or should I model non-"shady" behaviors for the betterment of myself and my residents. My mind wanders such things as I stare at my Midieval Lit professor's earring.

  6. Autobiography - I get to write my Autobiography this semester for class. It will be entitled "All of This Is So Vague As To Be Meaningless: An Autobiography of the Literate Life." I like my title. More on this later.

  7. New Kiosk in the Food Court - The new kiosk in the food court is supposed to be international cuisine. Instead it roughly translates to "La Salle Food Services attempts to do Mall Food Court International Kiosk Rather Badly." Its Chinese this week. Think "Lion King" sitting in the fridge for 2 weeks, then reheated and cooled down again after being dropped in the middle of 20th Street by the delivery boy.

  8. Philosophy - My personal philosophy for the semester can be summed up in one bumper sticker slogan: "Practice random acts of kindness, and senseless acts of beauty." Its not really a departure from previous semesters, but it just kind of sums everything up really well. Kindness and beauty. The rest is cake.

Anyhow, let the weekend begin.

Posted by Matthew at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2002

Move in 2002

Thursday went really smoothly. The gates were opened at 8am, as the chimes in College Hall rang in the new residential academic year. The football team was out in force to help the smaller, prettier and female freshmen move in. I wandered around my halls, hoping to remember names, and ran to administrative services a couple of times to get packets that were forgotten. Of the three move-ins that I've seen, this was the smoothest and most well run. Heres hoping for the rest of the school year!

My floors are awesome...I remember a lot of the people from Day One. I'm extremely lucky it seems, with my residents, as they seem to be getting along really well and bonding and forming small communities and all that stuff I remember from training. Our first meeting went really well, with good questions and mingling going on in force.

Today was a rest day. Laughed my ass off tonight at the hypnotist and Improv 101, a laugh I really needed. I'm exhausted - physically, emotionally, and mentally - from the last week. I remarked to someone tonight that I actually wanted classes to begin, just to get a break from everything. I caught up with a bunch of people tonight from the Masque (including my Masque daughter, which was cool) but due to my (as Shannon called it last year) "RA-ness," I couldn't hang out more tonight. Like I said, I can't wait for classes to begin - 3 day class weeks, with 4 day weekends and no class before 2 :)

Thats about it for now. I'm heading to bed, to fall asleep to Conan.

Posted by Matthew at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2002

polls make it so you don't have to write...

lucky you. you were what every child should be.
carefree. optimistic. and happy.
what kind of child were you?
(brought you by april)

Book Worm Meter
Shut In 93%
7% Out Of The House
Intellectual 77%
23% Moron
High Attention Span 95%
5% Low Attention Span
Bookitude 96%
4% Book Burner
Book Worm 90.25%
9.75% Bug Stomper
Take your bookworm readings.
Posted by Matthew at 12:37 AM | Comments (0)

You haven't missed much...

Really, you haven't.

Training, as training can be, had its ups and downs. There was a lot of stuff to go over, and a lot of stuff that I knew I know already from last year, and from past years. It ranged from being a much needed refresher course to just being plain boring. The highlight and the capstone of Training, I think, is Behind Closed Doors, a confrontation simulation where the returning RA's create situations that the new RA's have to confront/work with. It brings out the hidden actor in all of us; whether called on to be drunk student number three, or more broad in my case, "complaining student."

I threw whatever I could at them - "What the hell am I paying $30,000 a year for!" "My furniture is from the Truman Administration!" "$120 for parking?!?!" "I've killed a dozen cockroaches so far this morning!"

They handled it incredibly well: nobody broke down, nobody cried, nobody was fired - all fears/happenings of previous years. Community Development feels ready to handle the incoming people. The halls have been ready since the last person left - I've been saying all summer how boring the halls are without people.

My floors are starting to look lived in; I have one resident thus far. I have menus posted. I have some policy signs posted. I have the beginnings of one bulletin board, and one display done. Tomorrow is nothing but a work day - THANK GOD! - so as to be 100% ready for Thursday.

T minus 1 day and counting.

Posted by Matthew at 12:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2002

Jerome, part 2

The move is over, and everything is unpacked. My room is pretty decent, with a lot of empty space to make it seem larger. I want to get a futon in the next week to put in the center of the room, giving prime computer monitor (DVD movies) and TV viewing angles.

My new address is Jerome 007, in North Halls. My new extension is 2241.

Training began tonight, with some silly opening games and the wonderful news that it looks like I'll be hired to do IT work for the Division of Student Affairs...:)

Anyhow, its hot (I miss my air conditioner!) and I'm sleepy :)

Posted by Matthew at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2002


The weather outside is so sixty degrees, extremely calm breeze and this wonderful clean, crisp feeling.

I don't want to go to sleep tonight, and would prefer just to live this night for a while longer. My car is packed, and I move across the street tomorrow. Already most of the people are gone from the townhouses, goodbye emails being sent that bring a tear to my eye.

I'm drained, and tired, yet optimistically looking forward to moving into my room tomorrow.

thanks for an incredible summer

Posted by Matthew at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2002


6 days until training.
5 days until most staff will be back.
4 days until I think I have to move into my dorm room (*sniff* goodbye D8...)

There is no 3 or 2 or 1.

Other than that...quiet day today spent with my sister, running errands and stuff. We got her record player to work; with a strange assortment of wires, adapters and thingies. So now she can play "Come Sail Away" by Styx from the "Grand Illusion" album on a record in all of its analog glory. Stupendous.

Yet another quiet vacation day.

Posted by Matthew at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2002

...not to go mad...

It really hasn't felt like a week has gone by. I was in Katherines a week ago, on duty. It was the only night I left duty early, after being awoken at 3:30AM by a tickling sensation on my leg, jumping from the bed, turning the lights on, and watching a 2-inch cockroach emerge from the cushions on the couch from which I had been sleeping on moments before. To think it probably crawled on my leg sent me the hell out of Katherines for the night, ecstatic that I would never have to return to that room on the far east end on the first floor.

I came home on Wednesday night for a week of R&R before training starts next Saturday. I have to move out of my heavenly townhouse on Thursday and Friday and go back to Jerome basement. So far the vacation has been pretty good. I saw Signs last night with a couple friends in a private screening. I thought it was a very good movie: Shyamalan is one of those directors who creates these movies that I call "perfect;" perfect not in that it is a work of genius, but perfect that each part of the movie works to create this overall "complete" vision - everything fits exactly as it should; a perfect world, captured in celluloid frame.

"The Sixth Sense" was perfect in that everything worked for the twist at the end: repeat viewings confirm that each scene works without giving any of the ending away too quickly, yet the proof is all there. "Unbreakable" was perfect in that the unifying construct was the creation of a perfect comic book good vs. evil scenario for characters to emerge and show their true colors. "Perfect" movies are usually more about characters than story; the sparseness of a story gives talented actors the chance to flesh out their roles and just kind of enjoy and live in the perfect environment thats been created.

"Signs" is perfect because, while probably genred as a "thriller," the major construct of the movie remains faith. Every piece of dialogue, every plot point and every character reflects and explores that construct. It works as a perfect thriller too; Shyamalan, like a good director should, knows excatly how much to show in order to make something scary without overdoing it. "Jaws" was scary not for blood and gore, but for the fear of the unknown: Shyamalan does the same thing as Spielberg allowing the audience to project their own emotions and selves into the film, creating a fear that is more real that that created by a detached latex hand gushing red blood over everything in sight.

See "Signs" but be ready for a different movie than expected: not worse, but different.

Lets see...what else...I've mainly sat around at home doing nothing since getting here. I plan on catching up on the movies I missed "Austin Powers," "Road to Perdition," "MIB:II"...etc.

Friday I had a meeting with the Dean of Students concerning possible employment for the fall. It looks like something will happen, doing something I'd love: computer consulting for the Division of Student Affairs. He seemed genuinely impressed by the work that I'd put in over the summer in Health Services. I remember complaining about being transferred from Administrative Services in the beginning of the summer, yet it seems it's been a great opportunity. Like so many things in my life that have seemed bleak to start with (move #1, move #2, etc) it has turned out incredibly.

Thats all I have for now. The title today comes from a quote that I read that I've always enjoyed; I found it on the cover of the Living section of the Baltimore Sun during my freshman year of high school in a sidebar entitled, "Why Write?" It was a review of a book that talked to great writers about writing. My favorite quotation came from Elie Wiesel, a Jewish novelist whose experience in the Holocaust created the desire and need in him to write. The full quotation goes like this: "Why do I write? Perhaps in order not to go mad. Or, on the contrary, to touch the bottom of madness ... I knew the story had to be told. Not to transmit an experience is to betray it"

Currently listening to: Bruce Springsteen, The Rising...Incredible.

Posted by Matthew at 01:25 AM | Comments (1)